A 17-year-old New York youth was charged yesterday with assault with intent to commit murder while armed in connection with the shooting of a D.C. police officer during an undercover narcotics operation, D.C. police said.
Antoine Warren of the Bronx had apparently been in Washington for a few days, police said. Warren, who is being charged as an adult, is being held at the D.C. Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
The officer, Herman J. Keels, 39, was shot in the stomach with an automatic handgun while making an undercover drug arrest Tuesday as part of the police department's Operation Clean Sweep program. It was the first time an officer has been wounded during the city's one-year-old crackdown on street-level drug trafficking.
Keels, a 17-year member of the force, was listed in stable condition at D.C. General Hospital yesterday, hospital officials said. It was the second time in three days that Keels was shot at during undercover drug operations.
On Sunday night, as he arrested two men in the 3300 block of 14th Place SE in an unrelated incident, a gunman fired a bullet that ricocheted off Keels' handcuffs and lodged in his pants pocket, police said.
Tuesday's shooting occurred about 8:30 p.m. in the 3500 block of Jay Street NE, in the Paradise Manor apartment complex, which is next to the Mayfair Mansion apartment buildings. Both are notorious around-the-clock, open-air drug markets.
A D.C. undercover police officer was near Building 12 in the 3300 block of Hayes Street NE when he heard someone say "one-half, one-half," and saw a group of people walk toward the lawn area of the complex, according to court papers.
As the undercover officer walked toward the breezeway, he allegedly saw Warren involved in a drug transaction with another man, and the officer asked, "Can I get one?" according to the documents. Warren then allegedly discussed the purchase price of cocaine, and gave the officer one plastic packet of a solid cream-colored substance. The officer gave the man $50 of marked police department money.
After leaving the scene, the officer informed other officers that Warren was in front of 3525 Jay St. NE. Keels, and other members of a police narcotics arrest team approached Warren and identified themselves as police officers. Warren then allegedly shot Keels once and fled, according to court papers.
The other officers arrested Warren as he tried to run from the scene, police said. An automatic handgun found near Warren was identified as the gun used to shoot Keels, according to court documents.
Warren was taken by the officers to the corner of Kenilworth Avenue and Jay Street NE where the undercover officer who bought the drugs identified him as the man who made the narcotics transaction, the documents said.
Police said that when they searched Warren, they found the packet of cocaine and $13 that they said was obtained illegally.
Police continued to look for suspects after the shooting, blocking off Jay Street at Kenilworth Avenue. The search, which lasted two hours, backed up traffic for a quarter-mile on Jay Street.
Keels, who said last year that he was a member of the Black Hebrew religious sect, is under investigation by the police department in connection with a trial last year of nine members of the sect on federal racketeering charges.
Matters surrounding Keels' involvement in the trial were investigated by the police internal affairs division, and the U.S. attorney's office subsequently determined Keels had not been involved in any criminal wrongdoing.
But a police spokesman said yesterday that "the matter is still under review by the department to determine if any administrative policies and procedures were violated."